Words to Live By – By Me

I was going through my old email tonight, not being able to sleep, and came across this email that I sent to friends and family when my kidney function really started dropping. 

Today, 5-31-12, is the day I found out I will likely be having a second kidney surgery – a mere 7 weeks after transplant. This helped me feel better, and I hope it does the same for others’ as well. 

 

Letter Starts Here:

 

Most of you are up to date on my medical status, while some will be reading about it for the first time here.

 

As most of you know, I have been fighting kidney disease for the past eight years. It’s a battle I knew I would ultimately lose, and according to recent blood work (which I am repeating today to confirm its accuracy), transplantation is likely not far off. I hope the blood test today shows otherwise, but regardless, this recent scare has made me think about life, as I often do, and count my blessings.

Those closest to me know that in many ways, kidney disease is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I know, that sounds perverse, but in reality is quite logical. I did not wish for, would wish for, or wish anyone else, had the physical struggles I have. However, kidney disease has taught me to live life, not float through it. I appreciate what I have and worry little about what I don’t (mostly health). It gave me the push I needed to follow my dreams and get out of the rut I now realize I was living in. I have learned that life is more about perspective than anything and it’s not worth sweating the small stuff.

As I said, I hope the blood test today shows better results, but regardless, I want you to know that if you are on this email, I consider myself better off for having known you. I plan to be around for a long time to come, but just in case, want to share a few things with you that I have learned on this journey.

1.

Carpe Diem. You don’t know what tomorrow brings.

2.     Life is a marathon, however long or short, make it a net positive by focusing on the good you have, not the bad that comes along with it sometimes.

3.     Perspective is vital in order to live a healthy life. There is no sweet without the sour, but it doesn’t hurt to add sugar to sour lemonade either.

4.     Tell the people you love how much you care for them – you might not get another chance. Also, although difficult at times, do your best to keep family close – you only get one – and only one shot at making it work.

One of the greatest representations of perspective that I know was Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech at Yankee Stadium. I have re-written his speech (no disrespect to Lou) to make it applicable to my life. Please see it below along with the original speech at the bottom of this email.

I don’t mean to seem preachy, or condescending, so please do not take this email that way. I merely want you all to know that I am, and will always, be okay, and wish the same perspective (minus the ailments) for all of you.

For those newer to my life – I am emotional at times, but do not expect emails like this on a regular basis.

I get results tomorrow from today’s blood work, and if things are still bad, will let you all know. Otherwise, assume I have continued to beat the odds and bought myself some more time.

Sincerely,

David

“Friends and family, by now you have heard about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been living life to the fullest for eight years now and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you.

 

Look at yourselves. Which of you wouldn’t consider it a blessing to have friends and family like you? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have a mother whom would literally give you life twice (and help you enjoy it too)? A grandfather who although tough, would consistently push you to do your best and keep your head high, and give you the means to take life in stride and live out your dreams? To be part of a great organization and culture like XXXXXX & Co. where hard work is rewarded, and individuality and respect are synonymous with success, not mutually exclusive.  Sure, I’m lucky.

 

When your cousin, with two young kids, a wife, and medical boards coming up, spends hours on the phone with you just to talk – that’s something. When your sister calls to say, “I love you” on a regular basis – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law and father-in-law who take sides with you in squabbles with their own daughter – that’s something. When you have friends who consistently treat you with love and respect, include you in their lives, and call just to say, “hello” – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength (always rising to the occasion) and shown more courage than you dreamed existed (asking for nothing but love in return) – that’s the finest I know.

 

So I close in saying that I may have had a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”

Actual Lou Gehrig Farewell Speech

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

 

“Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I’m lucky. Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I’m lucky.

 

“When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter – that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know.

 

“So I close in saying that I may have had a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for.”

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